Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. As soon as September 1st hits, you can find me literally skipping through the house putting out all the fall decorations and lighting various fall scented candles. Fall starts once football season and the change in the weather hits, but the true beginning of the season for me isn’t until Starbucks releases their pumpkin spice lattes! These drinks are like heaven in a cup and I can’t ever get enough of them. Last year I thought about turning them into a cupcake but with so many other projects and starting up this website I just didn’t have the time. I set out a couple weeks ago to perfect it and here it is… all the delicious components of my favorite Starbucks drink (pumpkin puree, espresso, whipped cream, cinnamon and caramel) in the form of a decadent cupcake! The fondant pumpkins sitting atop the cloud of whipped cream frosting gives them a whimsical touch that makes them great for a party or even Thanksgiving dinner!  If you’re a fan of the drink, then this dessert is a must-try for the fall season! 

Start off by making the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two 12-cupcake pans with liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup ground espresso, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp baking soda. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 15 oz. organic pumpkin puree, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup vegetable oil until well mixed. Add in 4 large eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time until just mixed.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean… 18-20 minutes. While they’re finishing up baking, brew about  1/3 of a cup of espresso. Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes then remove them onto a wire rack. Brush each cupcake with the espresso, let it soak in and repeat twice more. 

Once the cupcakes are cooled and ready to frost, make the whipped cream frosting. Whip two cups heavy cream in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add in 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extractand continue beating until stiff peaks form being careful not to over beat. 

Put the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with a 1M tip and swirl the frosting onto the cakes. Sift a tiny bit of ground cinnamon over the tops. Make homemade caramel sauce by following the instructions from this post and drizzle it on the cupcakes. To make the fondant pumpkins: follow the instructions from this post to make the fondant. Use gel based food coloring to tint most of the fondant orange, some of it green and a tiny bit brown. Roll a small amount of the orange into a ball and make the lines of the pumpkin using either a toothpick or gumpaste tools. Use your fingers to flatten the ball a little giving it a pumpkin shape. I have tiny cutters that are supposed to be for clay that I used for the leaves and punched them out of the green fondant. I laid one on the top of each pumpkin and used a toothpick to make the indentations for the veins. I rolled a super thin rope out of a tiny bit of green fondant, twirled it around and added it to each pumpkin for the vines. I made the stem out of brown fondant and marked lines in it using a gumpaste tool.